Florida's Saint Leo Abbey Hosts Vocational Fair

November 11, 2000

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On November 11, 2000, the St. Petersburg Times reported that "Saint Leo Abbey's Fall Festival featured games and food while promoting vocational awareness. Hundreds of people spent this past Saturday playing carnival games, eating and listening to bands, as monks and nuns intermingled with families...'Saint Leo Abbey is one of Florida's best kept secrets and we wanted people to come out and see for themselves,' said Father Paul Romfh. The Saint Leo Jubilee Year Fall Festival was held to promote vocational awareness. Father Jonathan said that this is the first time the abbey has ever done anything like this...The monks and nuns staffed tables at the festival, handing out informational pamphlets about their order and answered questions. The nuns gave tours of the monastery and had sign-up sheets for retreats; the monks held Mass during the day and offered a confession time...More than 35 youth groups and 375 volunteers helped pull it together. Live music filled the air from the Praise Band of St. Raphael's Catholic Church and the Grace Ministries band. Tickets could be purchased and were then used to play games for prizes or trade for food. In addition to the typical carnival fare there were fruit cups and pineapple cake available for sale. Laser tag and the moonwalk were the games that drew the biggest crowds. In addition Kathleen and Patrick Calcutt coordinated crafts for all ages. The Calcutts and their three children live in St. Petersburg and attend St. Raphael's Catholic Church. Kathleen goes to a Bible study with Mary Patterson, the sister of Father Paul, and was asked for ideas to help make people aware of the Benedictine community at the abbey...One of the churches helping with the event was St. Anthony's Catholic Church of Brooksville. Marina Sullo, 6, who attends St. Anthony's, came to the festival with her family. Her brothers, Robert and Johnny, were volunteering at one of the booths...Staffing one of the craft tables were teenagers from St. Raphael's youth group. Linze Ritter, 13, Colleen Balco, 13 and Jason Spitzer, 14, worked the busy table as they tried to raise money for a class trip. And the Benedictines there were doing more, just spreading the word about their order. Sister Mary David was laughing while playing a Hula Hoop game. Meanwhile, Sister Nilla Cabrera, 46, was a big fan of the fruit cup. 'For me, this (Benedictine) way of life has given me more freedom to better myself and be the best I can be with endless opportunities,' said Sister Nilla, who has lived at the monastery for nine years."